One of the things that most infuriates Jim Morton when he’s on his job is when he hears ATC telling nearby traffic, “Caution: FAA practice instrument approaches under way.” Morton is an FAA airspace system inspection pilot, and he and his crew must frequently emphasize to ATC and pilots that “we are not shooting practice approaches.” His mission is flight checking the accuracy of electronic navaids in the U.S. and abroad.
Instrument landing system
Swiss authorities have implemented plans for a six-degree approach angle at Lugano Agno Airport, effectively banning the airplane most frequently used there–the Saab 2000 turboprop. The rule change came as several parties jockeyed for position to start new regional operations into Lugano with Saab 2000s after Swiss International Airlines announced plans to severely curtail its service there.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced it will issue revised standards for helicopter navigation this fall that are intended to take advantage of GPS receiver technology and new types of instrument approach procedures.
Airservices Australia and Qantas are working with Honeywell at Sydney Airport to supplement the signals broadcast by global navigation satellite systems. Those systems include the global positioning system that will provide the same level of precision approach guidance as a Category I instrument landing system–that is, to a height of 200 feet above the ground as long as visibility on the airport surface is adequate.
Aero Commander 500B, Gaylord, Mich., Nov. 16, 2005–The pilot of the Central Air Southwest Aero Commander was killed when the airplane crashed on a nonprecision approach one mile from Gaylord Regional Airport in night IMC.
Rockwell Collins has gained the first-ever TSO approval for a multi-mode receiver with microwave landing system (MLS) capability. Besides MLS, the receiver integrates VOR, ILS, marker beacon and GPS. Cat III MLS approaches are in use at a handful of European airports, most notably London Heathrow. The precision navigation concept has also been adopted by the military for set-up of “portable” precision approaches anywhere in the world.
Old timers may remember ATC requests to report the “middle marker inbound.” But it’s been such a long time since they have been an integral part of an ILS (in 1992 landing penalties were removed for inoperative middle markers) that the FAA has proposed to officially drop the middle marker as a required component of the approach.
Is ILS, aviation’s trusted friend for the past half century, now seeing its last days? Probably not. Some observers believe it has many years of life ahead of it, yet newer technologies are slowly entering the scene, in such diverse settings as Norway’s fjords, Heathrow’s jam-packed runways, the icy wastes of Antarctica and at several major U.S. hubs.
CESSNA CARAVAN 208B, ROCKFORD, ILL., DEC. 17, 2002–At 10:51 p.m., Caravan N277PM crashed while on the ILS approach to Runway 7 at the Greater Rockford Airport (RFD). The pilot was killed and the airplane was destroyed. The Part 135 nonscheduled flight, operated by Planemasters as Flight 1627, was transporting cargo for UPS and was operating in IMC on an IFR flight plan, from Decatur Airport (DEC), Ill.
A little known FAA policy statement, dated June 1 of this year, stands to dramatically change the helicopter industry as we know it. Helicopter pilots and manufacturers have long known the unique capabilities of rotorcraft, but have always been obligated to follow regulations and policies set forth and to operate in airspace designed for the much more prevalent fixed-wing aircraft.